Seaspan begins autonomous docking system roll-out

Shipping company Seaspan has taken delivery of Wärtsilä’s SmartDock technology, to allow autonomous docking manoeuvres to be performed in currents up to two knots.

The SmartDock system, developed by Wärtsilä ANCS, will be complemented by track development for autodocking at Tilbury, Duke Point, and Swartz Bay ports in Canada.

The technology employs a UKF (Unscented Kalman Filter) estimator, combining sensor measurements from various sources, such as GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and Wärtsilä’s laser sensor Cyscan AS, to calculate precise position and rate estimates of the vessel’s motion.

This data is then compared to a preprogrammed ideal trajectory of the vessel, and the controller allocates thrust and steering commands to manage autonomous docking and undocking manoeuvres.

Commissioning of the Seaspan Trader cargo vessel has now been completed, with the Seaspan Transporter cargo ship scheduled to be commissioned in late 2023/early 2024. These vessels will operate in the waters of British Columbia, Canada.

“Seaspan is proud to lead the charge in this technological advancement in vessel manoeuvring,” said Alex Treharne, Integration Engineer, Seaspan.

“The integration of Wärtsilä ANCS’s SmartDock system into Seaspan Trader exemplifies our unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation in maritime operations.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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